Being a mixed media artist, Julie Baroody considers producing and showcasing art as a critical component of her teaching philosophy. Tucked away in the corner of her Tallahassee Community College classroom, she’ll often create work in front of students so they can see firsthand how she negotiates her personal practice.
“My students really inspire me,” says Baroody. “When I’m teaching them and they’re coming up with great ideas, it all ends up in this big mixing pot and my art comes out of that. There’s a fluidity between the teaching and the making of the art as they inform each other.”
Aside from her teaching duties, Baroody enjoys TCC’s art club where students and instructors can critique one another, go off on creative tangents and brainstorm ideas. In a way, it levels the playing field between the teacher-student dynamic, making it a supportive space to receive guidance on an artistto- artist level.
This spirit is ever-present in TCC’s annual Art Instructors’ Exhibit, where Baroody’s work will be on display through September 27. Moreover, Baroody is looking forward to seeing the pieces her colleagues will showcase.
“It’s exciting to see what each other has been working on over the past year,” says Baroody.
Baroody has been a working artist in some capacity or another for many years. After double majoring in economics and art, she started out as a freelance graphic designer when the workplace was still a hybrid of analog and digital work given the advent of computers.
Baroody decided she wanted to launch fully into an art career and took a few classes at TCC before transferring to Florida State University to earn her MFA. The program offered a tuition waiver to students who would teach classes. Though she didn’t see it coming, Baroody fell in love with teaching art to students after her first couple days in the classroom. She’s particularly thankful for mentors like the late FSU professor Ed Love.
“He and I saw eye to eye with regard to a love of making art and a love of nurturing students,” says Baroody. “I connected with him in that regard and really respected him because his practice was really advanced and very professional and yet he was also a teacher. That’s what made me realize that you don’t have to water down one or the other. You can do both with high quality and integrity.”
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